The Difference Between an Excessive Heat Watch, Excessive Heat Warning, and Heat Advisory (Credit: NOAA National Weather Service)
There are several types of heat watches, warnings, and advisories that can be issued to the public. It can be confusing if one does not know the difference between them and with the latest ongoing round of simmering summer temperatures it is that much more important to be aware of the differences.
Summer weather is coming in hot across the northeastern United States. A strong high-pressure system is building across the Midwest and is expected to move into place over the northeastern United States for the rest of the weekend into next week. This high pressure settling over the area will allow for very high daytime temperatures ranging from the low to mid-90s and perhaps even triple digits in some inland locations. The heat index is expected to be in the low to mid triple digits. The heat index is a measure of how hot it is outside when you factor in the relative humidity with the actual air temperature. For much of the northeast, local National Weather Service offices have issues heat advisories and excessive heat warnings. Cities across the northeast could meet or exceed all-time record highs during this heat wave.
The definition of a heat wave according to the National Weather Service, is a period of abnormally and uncomfortably hot and humid weather that typically lasts two or more days. Many cities across the Northeast are likely to meet these criteria as high pressure sits over the region. This high pressure system will bring in a hot and humid air mass due to the advection of warm air from the south. The hot and humid weather is expected to linger in the region throughout the weekend and into early next week.
When temperatures are this hot and the humidity is in the low to mid-70s or higher, the body has a harder time regulating its body temperature. This is due to the fact that the evaporation process is slowed down. It is important to keep in mind simple safety tips. Wear loose, light fitting clothing and be sure to limit outdoor activity during the hottest part of the day. If you do need to be outside, be sure your skin is protected from the sun and stay hydrated. If you do not have air conditioning, seek out local community resources like the library or a community center to take a break in. Check your local parks and recreation schedules to see if pools and state beaches are open for extended hours. Remember to never leave children or pets alone in a closed vehicle, as it can be lethal to them. Temperatures can rise quickly in a very short amount of time in a vehicle with the windows rolled up. Avoid high-energy activities and if you need to exercise outdoors try to work during the early morning or late evening when temperatures are cooler. Finally, make sure to check on the elderly or anyone who is sensitive to these dangerous temperatures.
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© 2018 Meteorologist Shannon Scully
As temperatures rise during the summer, the extreme heat can push the human body beyond its limits. The term “extreme heat” is described as a prolonged period (typically 2 or 3 days) where the temperature reaches 90 degrees or above. It is one of the leading weather-related causes of death in the United States according to the National Weather Service (NWS).
During a normal day, all the bodily functions and chemical reactions occur perfectly when the body temperature is sitting at 98.6 degrees. When your body is exposed to extreme heat, the process of evaporation is slowed, and the body must put in the extra work to maintain a normal temperature and to keep the body comfortable. The harder you work, the more your body generates heat, and the more the body must work to get rid of this heat. The combination of hot weather and high humidity increases any heat-related risk to your body by decreasing the amount of heat that leaves the body. If certain precautions aren’t met, exposure to the extreme heat could harm you or possibly lead to death.
So, here are a few things to do if a heat event is set to affect your area.
1. Never leave children or pets alone in an enclosed vehicle. The temperature inside a vehicle can rapidly increase within a short amount of time.
2. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids. Avoid any beverage that contains caffeine and alcohol as both components could increase the process of dehydration.
3. Slow down. Avoid strenuous exercise during the hottest part of the day.
4. If you are heading outdoors, wear light colored clothing. Dark color clothing absorbs the sun’s rays exposing your both to more heat.
5. Check on your family, friends, neighbors, and pets to ensure they are not suffering from the excessive heat.
6. Take frequent breaks if you must work outdoors.
7. Always have an emergency plan just in case the power goes out during a heat event.
8. Spend more time in shaded areas or in places that have a good air conditioning system.
9. Pay attention to your local NWS forecast office. It is very important to know the difference between an advisory, a watch, and a warning.
First, we have a heat advisory (orange). The NWS issue this within 12 hours of the event and is implemented when the heat index temperature is set to reach 100 degrees or higher for at least 2 days.
Then we have an excessive heat watch (red). This is when the conditions for an excessive heat event look favorable within the next 24 to 72 hours. A watch is used to notify the public that a heat wave is forthcoming within the forecasting period, just the timing of the event is uncertain.
Lastly, the NWS issue an excessive heat warning (pink) if the maximum heat index temperature is set to reach 105 or higher for at least 2 days. For all of these to be issued, the night-time low temperature will not drop below 75 degrees making no room for relief.
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© 2018 Meteorologist Joseph Marino
DISCUSSION: There is no debate that the onset of yet another hurricane season here in 2018 initiates a lot of very unsettling and very concerning feelings among both younger and older people living in the vicinity and/or directly along U.S. coastlines along both the Gulf of Mexico and the East Coast of the United States. Many of these concerns surround the fact that many people are nervous as to whether there will be an active hurricane season or more importantly if any part of the hurricane season will specifically impact their region. Although that this is a very difficult question to answer on a mile to mile basis, there are things to know and keep in mind as hurricane season involves that should help to somewhat comfort people that have such concerns.
First off, National Weather Service forecast offices such as (but certainly not limited to) the National Hurricane Center located in Miami, Florida are chiefly responsible for issuing tropical cyclone forecasts for both the Tropical Central/Eastern Pacific as well as the Tropical Atlantic basins. In addition, here at the Global Weather and Climate Center, we will continue to consistently cover all tropical cyclone threats both regionally and around the globe. So, if you have any concerns and are uncomfortable with deciphering more detailed and scientific forecast discussions issued throughout the world-wide web, just be sure to stay tuned to our team right here at the Global Weather and Climate Center website. We will continue to do our best to cover and inform all of you on the latest updates on developing tropical cyclone situations as they develop an evolve during the 2018 tropical cyclone season(s).
So, in short, as a global team of trained atmospheric scientists, atmospheric researchers, operational scientists, and long-time professionals, we will continue to strive to do the best possible job to keep all people who seek us out at ease as we get further into both the 2018 tropical cyclone season(s) and beyond. We hope this message will help to relax all who get to read this particular piece and that we have helped to keep your mind somewhat at ease as we enter the 2018 hurricane season which is on the heels of a historic 2017 hurricane season for the Tropical Atlantic basin.
To learn more about the details of the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season projections per the graphic attached above (courtesy of Tyler Stanfield from the University of Oklahoma), click on the following link for his detailed tropical forecast projections.
To learn more about other interesting severe weather events occurring from around the world, be sure to click on the following link: https://www.globalweatherclimatecenter.com/safety-and-preparedness!
© 2018 Meteorologist Jordan Rabinowitz